Construction on the new Cowichan Hospice House is nearly completed and a grand opening is expected later this year.

The Hospice House will provide palliative services to people at the end of their lives and allow them and their families the appropriate accommodations for those last days.

Gretchen Hartley is the Executive Director of Hospice House and she says this facility, which will start with seven beds, will ease the workload at Cowichan District Hospital.

“Sometimes there isn’t a family member around to support someone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and that’s needed, in addition to the professional care. Sometimes people’s symptoms become too complex and difficult to manage or sometimes caregivers just become exhausted and burn-out,” said Hartley. “Up until now, the only real alternative we’ve had in our community is care at Cowichan District Hospital.”

This facility will offer families the gift of privacy in spending the last days with a palliative family member and the hospice house will start with seven beds.

Hartley explains the role this facility will play in the community.

“Cowichan Hospice House will provide specialized, whole-person care, to support the person that’s ill, but also to care for their family,” said Hartley.

The total price tag of the new Cowichan Hospice House was $10 million dollars, with more than $4.6 million coming from community organizations and individuals, including a $2,075,690.50 donation from the Cowichan Valley Hospital Foundation.

At the cheque presentation last May, the chair of the foundation Alison Taylor said, “It’s so important and it is a unique type of healthcare service that you are providing, in terms of end-of-life care. “It’s really centered around the person, but also their family and the elements of grief and caring for that individual at the same time.”

Mid to late October is the target for a Grand Opening of the new facility.